Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Steve Strong
John L. Scott Real Estate Broker 

Lake Stevens Real Estate Report for July 2013


July 9, 2013

The brakes have come on as sales slow in the Lake Stevens real estate market for the month of June. Inventory is slowly increasing month to month and values seem to have stabilized. There are 135 active listings available this month, 24 more than last month. The decrease in sales for this time of year is a bit unusual, 62 for the month of June, down 15 from last month.

The shocker is that new construction sales for the month of June were down dramatically from 26 in May to just 10 for June. New homes available have shrunk as lot availability seems to be dwindling. We know from last month’s article that new homes sales were higher than new home starts. Pending sales for June is also down with 62 compared to the 77 in May. As inventory increases and sales decline, the market is making a shift back to a buyers’ market.

Median values for the month of June was $257,543, very close to what it was in March and down from May. Meanwhile the median value for active listings for homes on the market for sale today is far higher than those that have sold in June at $386,205, which might be another reason for the market is slowing down, with prices higher than what buyers can afford and what appraisers can justify. Homes that sold in June averaged around $144 per square foot and the active home listings for sale are at $165 per square foot, which is quite a spread.

While statistics are unreliable when considered from a month to month basis, statistics do show that values leveling over the past several months. It could be in part from the rising interest rates and costs obtaining a loan. Best advices for sellers wondering why they are not getting any offers- lower your price!

What could be the answer for those pending sales in May that did not close in June is the increase of pending short sale’s that often take several months or more to close.

Short sales closings continue to dominate the market. Short sale expert Deb Wyles Clark, a retired attorney and active real estate broker with the local John L. Scott office since 2000, specializes in negotiating short sales, as a co-list agent for many of the offices’ short sale listings as well as many of her own short sale listings. Deb says that there are a lot more short sales closing today than a year ago. She says “Short sales are much better for our community and for the seller than a foreclosure.”

Clark goes on “They are better for your credit, keep vacant foreclosed homes from hurting our neighborhoods, and allow the seller to control the terms in which they get out of their situation.” When asked about the problems with doing short sales today, she responded “With increasing values, by the time the bank appraises the property to analyze the offer, so many are requiring updated appraisals and result in bank counter-offer instead of approval. Another problem is that many of the banks are transferring the service rights to the loans, even after a short sale is approved or close to approval, and sometimes that means we have to start all over again.”

Clark’s advice to homeowners considering or are involved in a short sale is “Be very patient, and don’t be embarrassed that you are in this situation. Short sales are everywhere and in most cases this is not your fault at all that you are in this position.” Debs advice to those considering doing a short sale is to contact a broker and get the process going sooner than later as it can be too late for some. To find out more about short sales, how to contact Deb and to get more of your questions answered; visit my web site at


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